Friday, May 20, 2011

Today We Remember Captain Walter G. Hynes, FDNY

Today we remember Captain Walter G. Hynes, 46-years-old, Ladder 13 FDNY, who was killed on September 11th, 2001. 

On the morning of September 11th, Walter called home as his rig left the firehouse at 85th Street and Lexington Avenue. He was on his way downtown. He said in his message to his wife, "I don't know if we'll make it out. I want to tell you that I love you and I love the kids."

Walter Hynes valiantly gave his life on the morning of September 11, 2001 while assisting victims of the World Trade Center attack. Walter was a family man, as well as a jack-of-all-trades. In addition to his job with the FDNY of 22 years, he was also a practicing attorney, and the co-owner of a restaurant in Rockaway Beach. In his earlier years, he had worked as a firefighter in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and put himself through law school at St. John's University at night.

When firefighters were ordered to evacuate the World Trade Center's north tower, Capt. Walter Hynes, leader of Ladder Co. 13, was with his men as they descended the stairs. 

Somewhere on the way down, they found about 50 people in distress and tried to help them leave. Many never made it, including Hynes, a man who always made time for others. 

"His greatest personal quality was his generosity of time, spirit and even his money," recalled his brother-in-law, Richard Fanning. "He was always the first guy to pick up a restaurant check or a bar tab." As a practicing attorney, "He was widely known throughout the community and throughout the fire department for being able and willing to provide free legal advice," Fanning said.

"Walter seemed to have an inexhaustible reserve of time. He never turned down a favor." Yet, “He had no free time, because he was always doing for everyone else."

Hynes had three elementary school-aged daughters. Around his neighborhood, they were known as "Walter and His Ladies". He enjoyed taking his three daughters each year to Disney World. He was very social. He just loved life.

We Will Never Forget!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Today We Remember FF Brian Cannizzaro, FDNY

Today we remember FF Brian Cannizzaro, 30-years-old, Ladder Co. 101, FDNY.

Those close to Brian know that he was a strong and determined man who never needed to be pushed. He was on tap, but did it all with humor. His buddies remember the time he drove a Fire Dept. vehicle into a chief’s truck and somehow escaped without reprimand. And the time that he jumped into a Brooklyn trash bin to smother a fire and leaped out because of a rat. He had a memorable sense of humor and lived every moment to the fullest.

Like his father, who spent 32 years in the city Fire Department, Brian chose to work for the FDNY. After joining the ranks in 1999, he wound up at Ladder Co. 101 in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Brian’s life, along with so many others, came to a tragic end the morning of September 11th, when terrorists slammed planes into the World Trade Center. Brian, along with six other men from Ladder 101, never returned. His body was recovered the Sunday night after Sept. 11th, from the rubble of Ground Zero.

Brian left behind his loving wife Jackie and a 1-year-old son, Christopher.

"Our times together as a family were the best I ever had," Mrs. Cannizzaro said, referring to her husband as her "best friend."

The couple grew from two college kids who were dating to become the married parents of their baby boy.

At his funeral, his wife spoke these words:

"I know, in my heart, you'll be there for every home run, touchdown, every bump and bruise.”

She remembered that her husband "desperately wanted" to be a firefighter. "It comforts me that you were doing what you loved and you were in the company of such incredible men. Words cannot explain, Brian, of how proud of you I am."

Brian’s brother then turned to his young nephew, saying, "I hope you grow up to be just like your daddy."

We Will Never Forget!

Today We Remember FF Timothy Welty, FDNY

Today we remember FF Timothy Welty, Squad 288, FDNY.

Tim Welty's true trade was in the physical world. A strong, wiry man who could do push-ups with two fingers, he skied, sky-dived and motorcycled, and he played hockey and volleyball for the Fire Department.

In 1993, Timmy got the call to attend NY firefighter training. His first assignment was Engine Company 233, aka "The Tin House”.

During his years at Engine 233, Welty gained a reputation as a fearless and single-minded firefighter, who would let nothing and no one stand in his way to fight a fire. This reputation earned him a spot in the new FDNY "Squad" Companies, which were created after the 1993 World Trade Center attacks as elite specially trained firefighting companies.

Welty moved to Squad 288 in Maspeth, Queens, in 1998 as one of its original members. He was known around the firehouse as "MacGyver" because of his ability to make something out of nothing, and was infamous for yelling during fires, "If you're not going in, get out of the way!" to anyone in front of him.

On September 11, Timothy Welty had finished his 12-hour shift at FDNY Squad 288 in Queens. The sight was visible from the firehouse. Welty called his wife to say he would not be home in time to bring their son to school, donned his turnout gear and jumped on the back of the Hazmat truck as it pulled out.

After the towers came down, nobody knew where Tim was. They believed he had already gone home. His mother was always nervous about him being in the fire department. He always told her to stop worrying, that if anything happened she would be notified. But after 9/11, she was not notified. Tim was officially listed as missing, and like so many other families, she hoped that he had somehow escaped the terror attack. When November came and Tim still was missing, his family knew the time had come to say goodbye.

The duty board for the day at Squad 288 is still preserved in a small memorial inside the firehouse, and shows his name scrawled in chalk.

We Will Never Forget!

Today We Remember Lee Fehling

Today we remember Lee Fehling, 28-years-old, Engine 235, FDNY.

It did not take Lee Fehling's mother long to know that she had a character on her hands. "You know when the doctor slaps you on the back and the baby cries?" said his mother, Joan Bischoff. "Lee came out laughing."

Lee relished a good telephone prank, calling his mother, an insurance investigator, and claiming to be an investigation subject, or impersonating a Nassau County official to inform a friend that her garage violated zoning restrictions.

"He wasn't ever a fan of dull moments," said his younger brother, Thomas.

This was particularly problematic for those who played bagpipes with Lee in the American Legion band in Wantagh, on Long Island, where he lived. (Just try playing the pipes while cracking up.)

He could always make his wife, Danielle, smile, but he could never fool her. "I could tell a mile away if he was up to something," she said.
He adored his daughter Kaitlin, 4. His wife, Danielle, gave birth to a baby girl one month after Sept. 11th.

His wife left him this memorial:

Lee, I cannot begin to express how lost I am without you. I still can not believe that you are gone! We had so many plans that can never be fulfilled. I need you to watch over me & the girls, we will need your guidance. I love you very much & I know we will meet again one day to live, laugh & love together. Thanks for always being my hero from the day I met you!

We Will Never Forget!